When it comes to masturbation, plenty of myths abound. Fret not, we’re here to set the record straight.
Isn’t it funny how, no matter which part of the world you come from, the act of self-pleasure is often seen as something shameful, taboo or “dangerous”? Maybe someone told you it can make you go blind. Or that hair will grow from unusual places like your ears or in between your fingers. But those are just masturbation myths.
Masturbation is a part of human sexuality. It’s self-soothing and empowering. It also helps you become a better communicator in the bedroom because you understand what works for your body when it comes to arousal. But, plenty of misconceptions still surround the act. It’s high time we dish out the truth…
5 masturbation myths debunked
1. Is masturbation bad or unhealthy?
It’s actually the reverse. Masturbation has a number of health benefits for your mental and physical well-being. During orgasm, your body releases natural mood-boosting hormones like endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin. These help you sleep better and feel happier.
Masturbation also lowers cortisol in the body, which reduces stress and tension while giving you a sense of bodily integrity. This can improve your self-esteem and develop your self-identity. Now, who doesn’t want that?
Women in perimenopause or menopause benefit from masturbation too, as they tend to experience less pelvic floor tightness with increased blood flow to the vagina after orgasm. That can reduce pain and vaginal dryness during intercourse.
2. Do women masturbate?
The short answer? Yes! According to a survey done by Tenga in 2016, 81% of women surveyed have masturbated in their lifetime, with an average frequency of eight times per month as compared to 15 times for men. With age, some women also grow more comfortable with their bodies. Self-pleasure and exploring their sexuality become less taboo.
That said, everyone’s sex drive is different. Experiencing pleasure isn’t one-dimensional. Exploring female sexuality can be a confusing topic to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be, especially with pleasure empowerment workshops that provide a safe space and community for like-minded individuals to learn about sex positivity.
Ultimately, masturbation is an individual lifestyle choice and sexual expression. Do what you feel is best for you, because you know your own body and desires most intimately.
3. Is masturbation okay if you’re in a committed relationship?
Definitely! It doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive, whether it’s solo or partnered sex. Mutual masturbation among couples is great foreplay; you can learn more about each other’s sexual preferences too. It’s sexy to watch your partner climax as you both reach a crescendo together. This shared experience can build intimacy and strengthen the connection in a way that’s different from “regular” sex.
And who’s to say you can’t be in a loving committed relationship with yourself? Don’t be afraid to discover what makes you feel good. Acknowledging your sexual needs isn’t selfish. It’s self-love at its prime. The best way to find out what turns you on is by acquainting yourself with your bodily parts down south!
4. So, will you lose your virginity if you do it?
No. The value in which we place the ideals of “virginity” is a social construct. How you feel about your first sexual experience matters. It’s way less important to worry about whether you’re “losing” it for the first time to a partner or a sex toy.
There’s a lot of confusion about the hymen; the myth that every woman who engages in their first vaginal sex will bleed isn’t always the case, nor is it an indicator of a “freshness seal”. As long as you’re aware of your pleasure choices and you aren’t coerced into something you don’t consent to, it’s your decision to make.
5. Can a sex toy desensitise you and make it harder for you to achieve orgasm?
As powerful as your vibrators may be, this is a myth. But your body can get used to a particular sensation if you tend to masturbate in the same habitual way, possibly making orgasms a challenge. Still, don’t be alarmed. If you’re stuck in a routine, switch things up. Find a new toy, play around with different vibrating patterns and pressures, or go back to basics and use your hands or fingers to explore other erogenous zones.
Need simple tricks to spice up a self-care routine? Try changing your dominant hand for the other, or switching up your position from lying down to sitting upright, putting one leg up, both legs up or even going on all fours. By creating new habits with positive intentions and keeping yourself present, you’re strengthening the neural pathways in your brain to feel “happy”. This gives you a better experience in how you receive pleasure.
Now that you’ve uncovered the facts about masturbation, be kind to yourself and get creative by luxuriating in the process of natural self-care! Your mind and body will thank you for that.